Water Valley teachers indicted for buying drugs from a 16-year-old student

Published 8:34 pm Monday, October 23, 2017

Two Water Valley teachers have been indicted by a Yalobusha County grand jury for allegedly buying prescription drugs from a 16-year-old Water Valley High School student.

Teachers Alana Harris and Jill Todd are charged with enticing a minor to commit a felony.

“In these cases, it was to sell, barter or transfer a controlled substance,” said Steven Jubera, Assistant District Attorney for the 17th Judicial Circuit.

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The grand jury handed down the indictments Oct. 19. Harris and Todd were arrested Monday and taken to the Yalobusha County Detention Center where they were booked and released on their own recognizance.

Jubera said the controlled substances were a variety of prescription medications, including Lortab and Adderall. The minor has not been charged and is being viewed by the District Attorney’s Office as a victim in the case.

Todd works at Davidson Elementary with kindergarten through second-grade students, according to the Water Valley School District website. Harris teaches seventh-grade English during the time of the alleged drug sales.

Superintendent Michael McInnis sent a statement to the EAGLE Tuesday morning in regards to the investigation but did not confirm whether the teachers are still working for the district.

“The Water Valley School District has some employees that have been under investigation for possible misconduct, by law enforcement. The school district is cooperating with law enforcement and will take the appropriate actions when that time comes. Being a personnel matter, we cannot comment any further,” the statement read.

“I know the school has taken the appropriate steps to ensure the safety of the students,” Jubera said, adding that the WVHS administration has been cooperative throughout the investigation.

“Teachers have massive power over students,” Jubera said. “A teacher is in a position of authority and nothing in the student’s past or record that indicates the student was a drug dealer before this incident.”

Jubera said most of the evidence presented to the grand jury came from the teachers’ cell phones, which were searched after a warrant was granted. The ADA’s office is also trying to obtain messages sent via SnapChat.

“It’s still an open investigation,” Jubera said, adding that none of the provided information indicated the student was ever in any physical danger.

“We’re dealing with prescription drugs that are commonly abused and there’s a real issue with addiction to these substances,” Jubera said. “We’re going to keep that in mind as we move forward with this case.”

Calls to the Yalobusha County Sheriff’s Department were not immediately returned Monday.

This is a developing story.